Hello and welcome to episode 4, our final episode of the WitchHunt podcast’s mini-series: Patriarchy Detox Explained.
In this episode, we’re going to talk about soul growth and expansion, and why honoring our intentions and realizing our goals towards a higher version of ourselves, isn’t as simple as willing and pushing our way forward.
We’ll talk about how trauma serves to keep us safe (and small), where that trauma comes from, where it lives, and how to shift it —
Because I want you to understand how to heal your way into a version of yourself that can do uncomfortable, unfamiliar things that may feel scary.
And in case, you’re anything like me, you can stop blaming yourself for not getting to where you want to be fast enough.
Here are a few examples of actions and choices that might feel unfamiliar and scary, but that may feel good and supportive of your well-being and growth.
Leaving an ok job
To start a soul-led business
Or raising your prices.
Like saying no to something you’ve always said yes to.
Or like stating your needs and dreams out loud, when you’ve never even known what they were.
Or ever gave yourself permission to have needs or dreams, let alone follow them.
These are all things that I did — even though they felt terrifying at worst, highly uncomfortable at best.
They’re all things that society — and a very loud internalized patriarchy — told me not to do.
Let me start by saying that I like to imagine 2 components to just about everything I do.
The doing component — the thinking, planning and implementation.
And the emotional or energetics component. This is made up of feelings and energies that are necessary in order for the thinking, planning and implementation to flow in a way that reflects the full expression of who I am.
Without working with the emotional or energetics component, when we try to do something that our body interprets as threatening, we go into stress response — which you probably recognize as fight, flight, freeze or fawn.
Without processing the stressful feelings, they get stuck in your body manifesting as self-sabotaging behaviors and thought patterns that leave you stuck in repeat patterns that, albeit unaligned with your true soul calling, keep you feeling safe.
My most dominant self-sabotaging behaviors are indecision and overthinking, which leads to analysis paralysis.
You could respond through perfectionism, indecision, overthinking, worry, looking for answers outside, scattered thinking… [inner landscape dynamic - how what you’re feeling influences your action, or non-action]
Repeated patterns that keeps you in your comfort zone.
Ok, so let me rewind a little bit and let’s talk about trauma.
Here’s a super simplified version of how things work in our relationship with self, and in our relationship with life.
Close your eyes and listen to my voice for a moment.
Heart says do something.
Someone in authority says no. Withdraws love or care.
Heart notices, likely feels hurt or disappointed or confused.
Brain says to heart: your hsouldn’t feel that. Stop feeling that.
Heart shuts down a little.
Life goes on.
Heart says do something.
Brain says no.
Heart listens, likely feels hurt or disappointed or confused.
Brain says to heart: you shouldn’t feel that. Stop feeling that.
Heart shuts down a little.
Life goes on.
So, here we are going through life — born from star dust, with all our accumulated experiences…
Somewhere in your past you’ve experienced trauma…
Could be in past lives,
Your childhood and youth,
Your adult life
And along the way, your body has taught you that when A PARTICULAR SOMETHING happens, there is reason to fear.
Just hold onto that for a moment as I dive deeper into the work of Dr. Valerie Rein who specifically writes about women’s experience of trauma.
Dr. Valerie Rein - the author of Patriarchy Stress Disorder - defines trauma as: any experience that made you feel unsafe in your fullest authentic expression and led to developing trauma adaptations to keep you safe.
She goes on to say that for women, this includes:
Any event that caused you to dim your light, any situation that made you withdraw from being fully yourself. This circumstance might have come in the form of an insult, a glare, an offhand comment that you’re too big for your britches, or unwanted sexual attention. If thinking of it makes you shrink a little inside, it’s probably trauma.
Dr Valerie Rein refers to a study where researchers introduced the smell of cherry blossoms to mice while simultaneously zapping their feet with mild electric shocks. The mice were then bred, and their children and grandchildren, when exposed to the smell of cherry blossoms, showed a strong fear and anxiety reaction.
PSD is women fearing the smell of cherry blossoms.
Our “cherry blossoms” are everything that has historically been prohibited and punishable for women under patriarchy:
* Loving who we love
* Authentically expressing our sexuality
* Shining brightly and unapologetically in our brilliance
* Making our own money — and LOTS of it
* Owning our own bodies (yes!) and our own time (what?)
* Everything that we deeply, authentically desire… And even ACCESS to KNOWING what we deeply, authentically desire is being blocked by PSD trauma defences.
Because it’s THAT DANGEROUS.
Women who had the audacity to KNOW their deep, authentic desires and reach for them were burned at the stake, drowned, locked up in asylums, beaten, mutilated, torn away from their children, exiled…
Some of these practices persist today in some parts of the world. But what does this mean for you, a high-achieving woman who is enjoying (sort of) equal rights today?
We have inherited this trauma. And with it, its trauma adaptations — survival mechanisms designed to keep us safe.
And they get activated every time we reach for what we deeply, authentically desire. Our subconscious signals “unsafe!” and our nervous system goes into fight, flight, or freeze response..
Dr. Rein refers to our trauma adaptations as our prison guards...thoughts, physical challenges, self-sabotaging behaviours that block us from moving forward and experiencing what we truly desire, yet with the unconscious intention of keeping us safe.
I am not a trauma expert, but I do understand that trauma exists on a spectrum.
And if you’re interested in exploring trauma more, I highly recommend Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk’s book: The Body Keeps The Score..
He says that “trauma robs you of the feeling that you are in charge of yourself…” and goes on to say that “the challenge of recovery is to reestablish ownership of your body and your mind -- of your self.”
He says that “...traumatized people become stuck, stopped in their growth because they can’t integrate new experiences into their lives…”
One thing that both of these authors talk about is how trauma lives in our body, and specifically reprograms our nervous system. This is why it’s so critical that we learn how to work with — activate and strengthen — our parasympathetic nervous systems in order to shift the patterns and integrate new experiences into your life — experiences that result in you honoring your needs, intentions, goals and dreams.
So let’s bring this new research back down and into our lives for a moment.
For me, the 2 areas of my life that Patriarchy Stress Disorder has manifested in my life is in my relationship to work and in my marriage.
And, in all honesty, the reprogramming of the way my nervous system responds to me taking uncomfortable but most aligned action in these two areas, continues to be a work in progress.
Here are a few examples from my earlier days.
It took me years to see that, thanks to internalized patriarchal messaging and patriarchy stress disorder, that there was space for me to have a dream within the context of my marriage. And, more importantly, that it was safe for me to a) share it, and b) negotiatiate how we could, as a family, make it happen.
Stepping into the first of the many conversations my husband and I had about this was terrifying — I remember sweating, heart palpitations, and having to explain to him what was happening inside of me as I muddled my way telling him my truth.
To the outside world, my dream made no sense. It meant us moving the entire family to a place that made no sense for my husband’s job (our main source of family income) and therefore, required a financial downgrade.
And I’d learned after my many years of talk therapy, that I was extremely conflict averse. This aversion was my prison guard.
But on the inside I needed to face that prison guard in order to step closer towards a fuller expression of who I am.
The same was true for my business.
Because I teach women how to grow sacred businesses and live sacred lives, reaching out to women required me sharing my own experience and journey.
This meant visibility.
And of course, being visible invites judgment, criticism, mean girl comments, etcetera…
In Episode 2 of this podcast, A priestess remembered. A podcast born I share my own journey. And I also talk about how sharing and publishing my own journey quite literally put me in the state of a nervous breakdown.
Without a practice that I teach my own clients and now integrate into my life regularly, this podcast may not even exist.
Since then, I’ve really tuned into how my business can reflect a full expression of who I am and the gifts I have to offer, and when I feel the resistance and fear to making an aligned action, I turn towards a practice that I’m calling The Sacred Work.
The Sacred Work is about alchemizing that resistance and stuckness.
It’s a modified version of a practice that my amazing business mentor, Natasha Rankin, taught me.
It’s premised on the understanding that unconscious beliefs, assumptions lead to thoughts and stories that then create feelings, which lead to actions and then results.
And it goes something like this:
You tune into the resistant feeling and where it lives in your body
You tune into the beliefs, thoughts and stories that are associated with that feeling
You unravel that story, questioning the assumptions and evidence.
You imagine a new story, one that supports you living in alignment with the fullest expression of who you are. One that is free of the PSD.
You journal it all down
And then you choose your somatic exercise of choice — I teach and lead my women through intuitive-led dance, shaking and stretching.
And then we consciously move, inviting awareness into our bodies and imagining internal cellular trauma shifts
WE shake out the old, and embody the new.
We don’t do this in isolation.
Instead, we do it alongside the uncomfortable, messy and scary action we’re committed to taking.
It’s taking action and practicing moving through the fear that holds you back from surpassing your emotional and energetic blockages.
In the context of entrepreneurial-related soul growth, I often refer to this as the Uncomfortable Art of Soulpreneurial Expansion.
It’s doing the practice that helps you to move through your emotional and energetic blockages, so that you can then take courageous uncomfortable action and move through the fear — ultimately bringing in NEW results.
One of the things that all of the magical women I’ve interviewed on this podcast have in common is that they are on a journey towards giving less fucks about what others and society at large thinks, and of tuning into their own inner compass as a determinant of what action to take.
It is my hope that this episode helps you to a) understand while seemingly simple, it isn’t as easy as it sounds, b) know that there are ways of supporting yourself through, and even accelerate, this healing journey by working with your body and nervous system in ways that, perhaps, you never imagined before.
I want you to walk away understanding that it’s not your fault that soul growth and expansion, that honoring our intentions and realizing our goals towards a higher version of ourselves, isn’t as easy as the gurus present it to be — especially for sensitive women who’ve felt “different” or “outcast” for ever.
I hope you can see the power of working through resistance and stuckness through both bringing your body and mind into coherence, and through bringing your past and future into the present moment of consciousness and intentional healing.
Emotional alchemy. Yum.
If this episode resonated with you and you happen to be a sensitive mum with a soul-led business dream who’s got the vision but hasn’t yet taken action, or who has taken action but is feeling as though your stuck with a stagnating business revenue, consider yourself invited to my signature zero cost training that I call: How Sensitive Witchy Mums Can Make $2500 per month in their Soul-Led Business, Without Missing Pickups or School Plays.
THIS FREE TRAINING WILL BE LED LIVE UNDER THE POWER OF THE FULL MOON, ON JANUARY 6 AT 11AM EASTERN, AND IN IT I’LL WALK YOU THROUGH:
— A simple mum-friendly business model for sensitive souls ready to generate consistent scalable $2.5K/ months, without missing out on pickups or school plays
— Even if you don't believe that you have what it takes, how you can reach a consistent $2.5K/ month revenue in a way that feels easeful and natural
— How to embrace soulpreneurship in a way that makes you a more present mama (and even better role model) for your littles
You can register for this free training by going to alexandrahughes.com/freetraining
And as promised, I’ve created a discount code
Exclusively for WitchHunt podcast listeners to put in their pockets and get $333 off the cost of Simple & Sacred, should they choose to join this life changing container. The code is WITCHESRISE.
If you’ve found this mini-series useful, please share it with a friend.
As you know by now, my mission centers around inspiring and teaching sensitive witchy women how to detoxify their internalized patriarchy so that they can stop living their life from a place of obligation and external definitions of what it is to be a good mother, wife and woman.
And instead, start to redefine and then create a new way of being and doing life, motherhood, partnership and entrepreneurship.
I’m honored and excited that you’re here to join the post-patriarchal adventure
And Thank you.